Gpeg still has cost concerns over anti-discrimination laws

THINK TANK Gpeg has again criticised anti-discrimination legislation due to go before the States in the next few weeks.

Lord Digby Jones of Gpeg. (31226390)
Lord Digby Jones of Gpeg. (31226390)

The organisation, led by Lord Digby Jones and other leading local business figures, said that the draft laws being presented for approval were not proportionate or appropriate.

It has publicly raised concerns three times previously over the past 18 months.

Gpeg said it was appealing to the business community to raise their concerns and ‘help common sense prevail’, though in response, the States pointed out that business organisations were now largely behind the proposals.

‘We have been clear throughout this process that we are not against anti-discrimination legislation,’ said Gpeg in its latest report.

‘What we do not agree with is a disproportionate response to a problem, most particularly in the area of employment.

‘What is needed is a solution that is proportionate and appropriate to the problem and meets the needs of islanders. This legislation is not it.’

It said its concern was mainly now linked to the cost for businesses, which it said would be significant and disproportionate to the size of the problem, and said that ‘no effort’ had been made to realistically assess the cost of the proposals.

Gpeg said it now had no issues with much of the law.

‘None of the content on race, carer status, sexual orientation or religious belief poses any major basis for objection – and indeed we hope that these provisions work well – or even better, prove to be unneeded.’

Deputy Peter Roffey, president of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, which has developed the proposals, said that engagement with local business groups over the years of the process had led to a number of key changes.

‘We’re pleased that the Guernsey International Business Association and the Guernsey branches of the Institute of Directors, the Chamber of Commerce and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development all see this ordinance as “a reasonable compromise for Guernsey” and recognise the damage that would be caused to Guernsey’s reputation if we, as an island, were seen to be unwilling to meet important standards which are in place in most of the jurisdictions with which we do business, and have been for some time.’

n Gpeg’s report can be found at https://www.gpeg.org.gg/post/proposed-anti-discrimination-legislation.

Previous comments from the States responding Gpeg claims can be found in the downloads section of gov.gg/discrimination.

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